Nitish Kumar announced a rally today that this Bihar election is his last. The stunning announcement came while the Bihar Chief Minister was campaigning for a candidate of his Janata Dal United in Purnia.
“This is the last day of election. The day after this election will end and this is my last election. Ant bhala to sab bhala (All’s well that ends well),” Nitish Kumar, a five-time Chief Minister, told the crowd.
As the comments set fire to retirement speculation, Nitish Kumar’s party men denied accusations that he had pulled a desperate stunt for votes.
“It is wrong to link his statement to the third phase of polls. He could have said this in the earlier rounds also. But Nitish Kumar is a serious sort of person and has a political standing. When he says something, he says it with full seriousness and thought,” said Janata Dal United leader Ashok Chowdhary.
But Nitish Kumar’s critics pointed out that he was known for his flips on similar grand declarations in the past.
A clip shared widely on social media had the Chief Minister announcing to the BJP, “Rahein ya mitti mein mil jayenge, aap logon ke saath koi samjhauta nahin hoga (whether I survive or not, a partnership with you is out of the question). That chapter is closed.”
Not long after that, Nitish Kumar dumped the RJD and the Congress and re-embraced the BJP, the party he had broken up with over Narendra Modi’s elevation as prime ministerial candidate in 2013.
Since the last election in 2015, Nitish Kumar has swapped partners and is back in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
But as he aims for a fourth straight term in the polls ending Saturday, Nitish Kumar is facing one of his toughest election battles.
He and his ministers have faced heckling and slogan-shouting during their campaign. Earlier this week, the Chief Minister was attacked with onions.
Many of his statements during the campaign made headlines, but today, for the first time, he hinted at retirement.